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Ones to watch in 2012

Posted in Domestic Cricket

James Taylor

James Taylor has ambitions to add to his solitary England cap after moving to Trent Bridge from Leicestershire

With the new season quickly approaching, there will be several players hoping to stamp their authority.

Here are a few I expect to excel.

James Taylor
Much has been made about his talent, but Taylor’s real challenge starts now.

The highly-regarded batsman accepted his England Test chances rely on playing top-flight LV= County Championship cricket and swapped Leicestershire for Nottinghamshire last month.

The England Lions captain, who made his senior one-day debut last year, was prolific in all formats at Grace Road and will be under pressure to perform at Trent Bridge.

John Simpson
The highly-rated wicketkeeper-batsman won the plaudits of Middlesex managing director of cricket Angus Fraser after his impressive form last campaign.

The 23-year-old, fresh from signing a contract extension, averaged 43 and was vital in Neil Dexter’s outfit winning promotion back to the big time.

This season is set to be a huge step up for Simpson and, if he wants England recognition, he will have maintain his high run-scoring and tidy wicketkeeping.

Simon Kerrigan
Kerrigan had limited chances to perform in the championship last season due to the form of veteran spinner Gary Keedy but, when he did, he did not disappoint.

He was responsible for throwing the title back in Lancashire’s favour with stunning figures of 9-51 from 37.2 overs to defeat relegation-threatened Hampshire.

Despite having to likely play second fiddle to Keedy again this season, if he performs when given the chance he will be influential in Peter Moores’ side’s chances of retaining their title.

Phil Hughes

Batsman Phil Hughes is hoping a spell with Worcestershire will help him in his quest to win a recall to the Australia Test team

Phil Hughes
After being dropped from the Australia Test team, Hughes will be looking to restore his reputation in England with Worcestershire.

But, with his frailties against the moving ball exposed against New Zealand’s pacemen, the left-hander will not have all his own way in English conditions.

The 23-year-old will take heart from the fact he excelled in his first spell in the country with Middlesex and his aggressive style of play will be an asset for the Pears in the limited-overs competitions.

Jason Roy
The explosive batsman was influential in Surrey’s promotion to the top flight last season and earned a call-up to the England Lions squad for their trip to Bangladesh.

Roy, a confident player who takes the attack to the bowlers, hit his maiden four-day century in the convincing victory over Glamorgan.

He will have to make the step up if Chris Adams’ emerging side are to shock teams this season.

Charlie Shreck
Injuries and competition for places put an end to Shreck’s stay at Nottinghamshire but, if he stays fit, Kent could be the ideal club for him to restart his career.

The seamer enjoyed success in the top flight and will bring experience to new head coach Jimmy Adams’ bowling department, whose fortunes need reviving.

The 34-year-old has the ability to swing the ball and is likely to take wickets on a regular basis in the second tier.

Tymal Mills
The rise of Mills has been astounding.

Having only taken up the sport five years ago, the left-arm seamer has won an England Lions call after impressing for Essex and will need to take wickets if Paul Grayson’s team are to make a promotion push.

Despite having only four first-class games under his belt, this season could be the time for Mills to unearth his hefty potential and show what he can do in all formats.

Gary Ballance

The form of middle-order batsman Gary Ballance will be vital as Jason Gillespie's Yorkshire look to bounce back from relegation

Gary Ballance
The Zimbabwe-born batsman was unlucky not to start the season in the Yorkshire team but, once he was given a chance, he brightened up the White Rose’s woeful campaign.

The former Derbyshire left-hander has finally started to fulfil his potential and is a clean striker of the ball in all formats, building a brilliant partnership with England limited-overs international Jonny Bairstow.

If first-team coach Jason Gillespie’s side are to win back promotion to the top tier, they will need Ballance to score heavily in the middle order.

Tom Poynton
Thrown the gloves after Luke Sutton’s retirement, the pressure is on Poynton to perform.

The 22-year-old, who has only featured in seven first-class matches, will be one of an array of youngsters plying their trade in the Derbyshire first team this season and will have to add crucial runs with the bat in order to bring balance to the team.

Poynton, given time in the middle, is likely to better his highest first-class score of 25 and could hold down the wicketkeeping position at Derby for many years.

Alex Wakely
At only 23 years old, Wakely has played in 50 first-class matches and has been pinpointed by some as Northamptonshire’s best batsman.

He will be looking to build on his career first-class average of 28 and will have extra motivation to fire Northants to promotion after agonisingly missing out in the previous two campaigns.

Wakely has shots all around the wicket, looks a very stylish run-maker and is vital to Northants’ chances of silverware in 2012.

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